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The Talk of the NBA : Wohl Seeks Understanding With New Jersey Players

September 01, 1985|WILLIAM R. BARNARD | Associated Press

The new coach of the New Jersey Nets, Dave Wohl, didn't waste any time touching base with one of his key veterans, guard Micheal Ray Richardson.

"One thing Micheal Ray and I promised each other is that we're going to run, and that entails a lot of trust," Wohl said. "I told him, 'I'm going to give you a great deal of faith. What you have to give in return--if I take you out or criticize you--is that you'll accept it as a method to help you and the team.' "

Wohl also expressed a desire to talk with Nets center Darryl Dawkins, who was plagued by injuries as well as fouls last season.

"That (1975-76) Philadelphia club hung a 'potential' tag on him, to be the next great center," Wohl said. "I'll use the word 'progress' with Darryl, not 'potential.' "

Melvin Turpin, whose rookie season as a Cleveland Cavaliers center will be remembered more for his ponderous attempts to play defense and rebound than anything else, vows he is serious about pro basketball now.

"I'm hungry for basketball. I have so many people saying things against me, and that has me fired up.

"I have a lot to prove to myself. I remember sitting on the bench toward the end of last season and thinking how I couldn't believe I was a first-round pick and I was still sitting.

"I told myself I was going to come back this year and show those guys. I want to be more than a player. I want to be a great player," Turpin said.

Turpin, 6 feet-11 inches, said his weight climbed to 300 pounds last year, and as the scales went higher, his relationship with coach George Karl dwindled.

"That's not going to happen again," Turpin said. "I'm down to about 262 and my body fat is way down. I'm lifting weights and running every day.

"I was getting pushed around by some people last year. I think it's time I started doing the pushing."

Summer league statistics can be misleading, but the Philadelphia 76ers are pleased with the outcome of the week-long Princeton (N.J.) summer league involving young players from the 76ers, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets and Washington Bullets.

Leon Wood, a first-round pick of the 76ers out of Cal State Fullerton last year, got little playing time behind the more experienced Philadelphia guards. He averaged 21 points and eight assists as the 76ers went 5-0 in the league.

Rookie forward Terry Catledge, South Alabama, averaged 19.4 points and eight rebounds.

Wood's deficiencies on defense, which ex-coach Billy Cunningham stressed, were a factor in his lack of action in 1984-85. But, he says he's improved that part of his game.

"Every day I guarded Andrew Toney in practice," Wood said. "I wanted to guard Andrew because I felt he was the best guard 1-on-1. If I was going to get better, he would be the perfect guy to get me ready. He'd still get his points, but I played well physically as far as being able to guard him low, where he's strong and effective.

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